Rodeo heats up as riders head into final two weeks

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Headed into the final two weeks of rodeo in Steamboat Springs, it looks like Santo, Texas, cowboy K.C. Jones is closing in on the all-round title.

"I wouldn't say Mitch (Walz of Craig) is out of the hunt, but K.C. Jones has a pretty good handle on things right now," rodeo organizer John Shipley said.

The Steamboat Pro Rodeo Series recently completed its ninth week. Jones won the calf roping event and pocked $411.28 bringing his total to $2,668.96 for the season.

Walz sat out the week with a torn sternum, but is hoping to be back this weekend.

"I didn't know I was in it," the Craig Cowboy said of the overall. "It was a goal of mine at the start of the season, but I've missed a couple of rodeos up there. I haven't been thinking about winning the all-around title that much."

Walz, who has won the all-around buckle in the local rodeo series the last two year, now trails his Texas counterpart by $762.26 in the total standings with two performances remaining.

"It's possible to win it, but I will have to do pretty good the last few weeks," Walz said.

Walz has earned $1,906.70 and is comfortably in second in the all-round standings. Eric Pickering is third with a total of $1,417.17.

"I think Mitch still has an outside chance since he competes in three events," Shipley said. "He could get hot and win it all again."

But Jones has been the cowboy to beat this summer. He has won the lion's share of his money in the calf roping events where he has collected $2,621.91.

Jones has all but wrapped up the title in that event. Chris Downey is in second place, but hasn't been near the top since week six. Dennis Walter is in third, but he also hasn't placed since week five.

Johnny Chavez is leading the bull riding ($1,318); J.W. Winklepieck is at the front in bareback ($1,751); and Josh Bilbrey ($1,377) is leading the saddle bronc event. Wade Corliss leads the steer wrestling ($1,948); Paul Grieman sits atop the team roping ($2,123) and Casey Shelstad is leading in barrel racing ($1,664).

In the non-PRCA events, Kane Laramore is winning the No. 7 roping ($1,990) and Kayle Urie has earned 27 points to lead the peewee barrels racing.

The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo series will continue at 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. The season finale will be the following weekend, Aug. 25-26.

"It's hard to win it every year," Walz said of the all-around title. "I haven't drawn any horses in Steamboat that have bucked well. A big part of (winning the title) is in the draw."

To reach John F. Russell call 87104209 or jrussell@amigo.net

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